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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's Time for Growing Things!

Life is picking up speed here at hex central and on Hearthfire Hill. Chickens and ducks (the latter, the namesakes of our new vegetable marketing brand -- Fussing Duck Farm. 

That is the way the cycle goes, though. The long nights and quiet, cold days of the dark side of the year, with time spent spinning by the fire and doing a human version of the bear's winter sleep, to recharge from the previous busy growing season, give way once more to longer days and projects galore!

New Earth Star Flower design
for outdoor display
The first project knocked off the list was one that had been forgotten about over the past few months. I had started a small redesign of the Dutch Hex Sign store page, to give more information about the various designs and clean up issues with the shopping cart, but other projects intervened ( two large print projects, actually, for clients of my design studio, Vision IPD) and the personal web redesign was dropped. Then I sold one of the few, small, in-stock signs and, in a fit of efficiency, removed it from the page. I did not scroll down enough when doing this "quick fix" to notice that I was working on the only partially completed redesign page, which I then uploaded... broken links and defective shopping cart and all! I finally discovered there Http:// now works ( if you happen to see anything I overlooked, or which is not working in YOUR browser or on your device, PLEASE let me know what is broken and what browser/operating system/device you are using to view it!)
was a problem and completed the update.

Then, magically, the soil warmed (it seemed like overnight!) from 32 degrees to a balmy 46! Not exactly the optimal temperature for a mud bath (though the fowl have been enjoying "dusting" themselves for several days now) but warm enough to entertain the first plantings of many of the cool season crops. Equally amazing, after this long, cold and WET spring, the soil dried sufficiently for Tractor Guy K to get out there today with Fergie and begin soil prep. I was totally prepared to stick the first rows into ground that had last seen cultivation in the fall, but this will be better.

Seedlings getting hardened off; protected from
hungry chickens!
The seedlings are in the process of being hardened off, living on the porch, surrounded by a makeshift fence of plastic poultry netting and step-in posts, dropped into holes drilled into the deck, to keep the hungry chickens at bay. One of the planter boxes of lettuce, from which we have been eating, was attacked by Confused, one of the hens, on a previous plant outing, and several of the seedling kale plants uprooted. Hopefully all will survive and prosper, now that the chickens cannot get to the "treats." I am still considering how to protect them in the garden until I can get chicken fencing up again. That is another spring project on the list, along with assembling the small (8x12) greenhouse we bought last year.

We'll see how much gets done over the weekend!

Meanwhile, test your knowledge of lettuce! Visit